Top 10 Federal Funding Programs for Summer 2023

As 2023 nears its halfway point and vegetable plants around the country begin to flourish, Canadians are spending more time outdoors embracing the warm changes of the new summer season. During this time of yearly growth, the Government of Canada also begins to reinvigorate numerous funding programs, updates, and initiatives available for hiring and training, business expansion, innovation, and research and development.

In this post, you will discover our top choices for federal grant and loan programs currently available across Canada. Additionally, we would also like to bring your attention to tax incentive programs. Take a moment to learn more about these programs in our free SR&ED vs. IRAP resource.

As the Canadian government continues to develop solutions for economic instability, the continued success and growth of our country’s small business operations are more important than ever. From hiring and training grants, to low-interest loans for tech adoption and innovation, to funding support to help businesses tackle the labour market shortage, there is a wide array of government funding programs available this summer.

Top Federal Small Business Grants for Summer 2023

The following seven federal funding programs providing grants for various initiatives are currently open for intake during the summer months of 2023.

If you are reading this in the future, the timelines and funding allotments may have changed; stay up to date with the most relevant and timely information via the program’s official page linked in each beginning paragraph.

Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT)

The Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program is a $190-million investment that aims to support research, development, and adoption of clean technologies through investments in and promotion of precision agriculture and agri-based bioproducts. These technologies must help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generate a wide range of positive impacts, and promote sustainable and clean growth. Funding is allocated through two streams: (1) the Adoption Stream and (2) the Research and Innovation Stream.

  • Amount: Eligible applicants for both streams may access up to 50-75% of costs to a maximum $2 million per project or $5 million per applicant (with multiple projects). 
  • Eligibility: Eligible applicants for both streams may be provincial/territorial governments in Canada, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations

Creative Export Canada (CEC) – Export Development Stream (EDS)

The Creative Export Canada (CEC) – Export Development Stream (EDS) supports new and early-stage exporters to build capacity and expand into international markets. The EDS program additionally offers grants for seasoned exporters to expand into new international markets and build business networks.

  • Amount: Eligible applicants can access up to 75% of eligible expenses to a maximum of $90,000 per fiscal year.
  • Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be for-profit or not-for-profit organizations with a maximum of $10 million in annual revenues and a minimum of one full-time employee.

Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)

As part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), funding is available for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) to help them overcome the challenges of digital adoption in their businesses to remain competitive in this new digital age. There are two funding streams of the CDAP program: the Grow Your Business Online stream and the Boost Your Business Technology stream.

  • Amount: Funding for the CDAP program varies according to stream: The Grow Your Business Online stream offers eligible applicants with up to a maximum of $2,400 in non-repayable grant contributions; while the Boost Your Business Technology stream offers up to 90% of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $15,000 per SME in non-repayable grant contributions.
  • Eligibility: Eligible applicants vary slightly depending on stream, please check the official program page linked above for full eligibility criteria.

CanExport SMEs

The CanExport SMEsfunding program provides Canadian grants to support Canadian businesses seeking to develop new export opportunities and markets, especially high-growth priority markets and sectors, by offsetting a portion of eligible sales and marketing activities.

  • Amount: Eligible applicants can receive up to 50% funding to a maximum $50,000 grant per project.
  • Eligibility: Eligible applicants include incorporated Canadian for-profit businesses <500 full-time payroll employees and between $100,000-$100M in Canadian annual revenue.

Canada Job Grant (CJG)

As part of the Canada Job Grant (CJG), the Canadian government provides federal funding to help employers reduce the costs of providing third-party skills training to new and existing employees. The CJG program was launched in 2014 and allocates upwards of $194 million each year to upskill new and existing employees to enhance their value to their organizations.

  • Amount: Depending on provincial stream, applicants can receive up to 50-100% in grant funding for employee training grants with up to $15,000 per trainee.
  • Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be businesses and/or organizations that meet the eligibility criteria set by each provincial CJG stream. For example, for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG), applicants and trainees must both be licensed to work and operate in Ontario and have training through an approved third-party program.

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) offers grants and procurement contracts to stimulate technology research, development, and commercialization. In addition to improving government operations, the ISC program assists startups and SMEs to overcome technological development hurdles.

  • Amount: Phase 1: Grants up to $150K; Phase 2: Grants up to $1M; Phase 3: Government procurement contracts with no fixed maximum.
  • Eligibility: For-profit, privately held Canadian businesses with fewer than 499 FTE employees.

SCAP – AgriScience Program

Through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) AgriScience Program, Canadians and the agricultural and agri-food sector can accelerate innovation through pre-commercial science activities and research. There are three priority areas in the program: Climate Change and Environment, Economic Growth and Development, or Sector Resilience and Societal Challenges.

  • Amount: Up to $5 million can be awarded to this program for a non-repayable portion of the project’s eligible costs.
  • Eligibility: The program is open to for-profit, non-profit, and Indigenous organizations and individuals.

Additional Hiring Grants

To help offset costs associated with new hires, there are also various hiring grants available across Canada. Funding is typically quantified by the type of candidate hired and how long the contract will be; less funding is available to hire interns while more funding is available to support recent graduates.

  • Amount: Depends on candidate type. Interns/Co-op students may help a business leverage an incentive of $5K to $7K per incremental new hire. Recent graduates may help a business leverage an incentive of $12K to $15K per new hire.
  • Eligibility: Canadian for-profits and non-profits with the capacity to provide meaningful work experiences in an industry field. Candidates should be in (or recently graduated from) a business or educational program.

Top Federal Small Business Loans for Summer 2023

The following three federal funding programs providing loans for various initiatives are currently open for intake during the summer months of 2023.

If you are reading this in the future, the timelines and funding allotments for these programs may have changed. Stay up to date with the most relevant and timely information via the program’s official page linked in each beginning paragraph.

GIFMP’s Industrial Facility track (IFT)

Through the Industrial Facility Track of the Green Industrial Facilities Manufacturing Program (GIFMP), funding is provided to assist industrial facilities in implementing energy efficiency and energy management solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, maximize energy efficiency, and increase competitiveness.

  • Amount: Eligible applicants can access up to 50% to a maximum of $10 million; the minimum funding contribution is $40,000.
  • Eligibility: Canadian Facilities engaged in energy consuming processes that involve the physical or chemical transformation of materials or substances into new products.

NRC IRAP Research Grants for Canadian Businesses

The Canadian Government’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) is a program designed to help Canadian innovators accelerate their research and development projects. Businesses who are developing and implementing process improvements are the primary targets to receive research funding contributions through NRC IRAP, however, large-scale technology adoption projects that lead to new capabilities are also considered.

  • Amount: Eligible businesses can access contributions of up to 60-80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor expenses towards a specified innovation project.
  • Eligibility: Incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services, or processes in Canada.

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a federal government funding program directed at Canada’s technology and industrial sectors. SIF provides financial grants and loans of up to 50% of a project’s costs with the intent of promoting investment in the types of activities which drive continuous productivity and economic advantages.

  • Amount: Minimum funding contribution of $10M per project. Type of financial support awarded is at the discretion of the program; this can consist of a combination of repayable financial support and/or financial reimbursements up to 50% of project costs.
  • Eligibility: Incorporated Canadian businesses with high growth potential and the ability to drive innovation.

Small Business Grants and Funding for Canadian Growth

The Canadian government grant and loan programs listed above are intended for small to medium-sized businesses that have been incorporated for at least three years, generate at least $500K in annual revenue, and have 15 or more employees. If you do not meet these qualifications, please visit our source for Canadian Startup Business Resources.

Looking to get started on accessing government funding opportunities? Connect with the Mentor Works team to learn which funding program fits your business, and make sure to subscribe to our Weekly Funding Newsletter to stay notified of the latest government funding news and updates.

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